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Make Sure Your Application Will Be Acceptable

Below are a few tips to ensure that your application for copyright registration is accepted by the U.S. Copyright Office.

Give Clear and Accurate Information

In completing an application form to register a claim to copyright, it is important to give clear and accurate information. To ensure that the information is accurate, read the instructions on the application form carefully. Additional information on various topics is available from the Copyright Office if needed.

Complete the Application in Black Ink or Type

It is also important that the information you give in your application is dark enough to make an acceptable reproduction. The registration certificate issued by the Copyright Office is made from a photographic image of your application. The better the quality of your application, the better the quality of your certificate. Applications of extremely poor quality will not be accepted. In completing your application form, therefore, use a typewriter with a good ribbon or print all information (except your signature) clearly with a pen in black ink. Do not use a pencil or colored pens (blue, green, red, etc.).

Use Acceptable Photocopies of Computer Printouts of Copyright Office Forms

If you use a printed form issued by the Copyright Office, you do not have to worry about the quality of the form itself; it will produce an acceptable certificate. However, the Copyright Office receives applications in a variety of paper formats in addition to the printed application forms it distributes. These include:

  • photocopies of Copyright Office-issued forms
  • printed paper copies of forms from the Copyright Office Website 
  • printed paper copies of other computer-produced Copyright Office forms that have been approved by the Copyright Office

If the application you use is a photocopy or a computer printout, make sure that it is clear, legible, and on a good quality of 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch white paper. Also, make sure that the form meets the following criteria:

The two-page form must be printed head to head on a single sheet of paper so that when you turn the sheet over, the top of page 2 is directly behind the top of page 1. (This does not apply to Copyright Office Short Form applications because they are only one page.)

Do not enlarge or reduce the size of the form. The top and bottom margins of the form must be the same as those on the printed form issued by the Copyright Office. In particular, the return address at the bottom of page 2 (or page 1 if you are using a short form) must be in the correct location to be seen through the window envelope used to mail the certificate. For the address box to be properly located, the top line of the address box must be about 2 inches from the bottom edge of the form.

The Copyright Office is committed to issuing certificates of registration that provide a clear and legible record of registered claims. You can help by making sure that the information in your application is complete, accurate, and legible, and that the form itself is of an acceptable quality.

Fill-In Forms on the Web

An applicant for copyright registration may select the proper form online at the Copyright Office Website and key information directly onto the form instead of having to print the form and fill it in by hand or on a typewriter. After the form is filled in, it should be printed, signed, and mailed to the Copyright Office together with the deposit and the filing fee. At this time the Copyright Office does not accept electronic filings.

  • Who May Use the Fill-In Forms?

Any applicant who has access to a computer with an Internet connection may fill in the form on the computer's screen. Forms may be printed with either a laser or inkjet printer. Inkjet printer copies of the forms require enlarging if you use the Shrink to Fit Page option.

  • Which Forms Are Available in Fill-In Version?

The forms currently existing in fill-in version are Forms PA, SE, SE/Group, SR, TX, VA, CA, CON, GATT, GATT/ GRP, GATT/CON, and Short Forms PA, SE, TX, and VA. In the near future, the Office expects to have fill-in versions for all forms. There is also a fill-in version of the Document Cover Sheet.

  • Where Are the Fill-In Forms?

 The fill-in forms are on the Copyright Office Website 

Next Steps
Contact a qualified business attorney to help you identify
how to best protect your business' intellectual property.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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